By Okon Ekpenyong
Houston, Texas celebrated the 33rd annual Christmas tree lighting on Thanksgiving Eve at the Wortham Theater outside of the Sugar Plum Plaza as part of the City’s 11th Lights Downtown Holiday Magic, presented by Shell Energy. This special holiday event runs through the end of January 2, 2024.
Attendees experienced the interactive art installation, the Fish Plaza, which has been transformed into the Sugar Plum Plaza for the holiday season.
The installation comprises six giant modules, each 2.33 meters (7.8 feet) tall, with a unique interactive experience. Visitors can turn the steering wheel on each module to manipulate the speed of time. Additionally, the plaza is filled with various holiday decorations and lights that create a festive atmosphere.
It is an unforgettable holiday experience for families from all walks of life. Houston’s Mayor Sylvester Turner could not attend because the Mayor was away working on addressing the city’s high water bills through proposed ordinance changes. The Mayor did attend the event last year.
The event features the illumination of a spectacular Christmas tree with more than 19,000 dazzling lights and appearances by costumed characters from the Houston Ballet’s The Nutcracker.
“Houston is one of the most diverse cities in the nation. Therefore, we don’t limit our celebrations to Christmas only. We have a celebration month for all cultures throughout the year, especially during the Christmas season. We encourage people from all ethnic communities to join in on the festivities”, said John Gonzalez, Senior Vice President & General Manager for Houston First Venues.
Gonzalez manages some of the most iconic landmarks in Houston, including the Wortham Theater Center, the George R. Brown Convention Center, and much more. Houston First is also responsible for the ten other Holiday Villages that form part of the city lights downtown Holiday Magic.
The special guest entertaining the audience was the Jalen Baker Trio, presented by DACAMERA. For the kids, the holiday arts and crafts and story time with a character from the Nutcracker presented by Houston Ballet Company made the day even more special.
The holiday event is always a great success, with guests having the opportunity to do some holiday shopping, win giveaways, and enjoy refreshments. In contrast, the whole family enjoyed Santa Claus’s visit and the lighting of the 26-foot Christmas tree. The event’s centerpiece is its large and irresistibly decorated Gingerbread House, which will delight the children.
This annual holiday tradition reminds families of the season’s spirit and allows families to come together and celebrate the Christmas spirit. It is something that everyone in Houston looks forward to each year.
Other locations for CITY LIGHTS DOWNTOWN HOLIDAY MAGIC include Deck the Trees at the George R Brown Convention Center, Land of Sweets at the Hilton Americas on Lamar Street, Ice at Discover Green, Texas Winter Light at the Marriott Marquis on Walker Street, Twinkle Town at Trebly Park on Fannin Street, MISTLETOE SQUARE at MARKET SQUARE PARK on Milam Street, winter wonderland at Post Hill on Franklin Street, Jingle Town at Square for Performing Arts on Louisiana Street, and City Hall-Iday at City Hall on Bagby Street.
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